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  • Defaulted Loans May Haunt Seniors
    Street Journal analysis of Treasury Department data shows that Social Security recipients comprise a large and growing percentage of people from whom the Treasury recovers debts For years most debt the Treasury collected through its Offset Program came from withholding income tax refunds But with an aging population and growing unemployment roughly 10 of the 4 3 billion in debts collected by the Treasury came from Social Security benefits in 2008 the latest figures available That s up from 1 6 in 2001 according to Journal computations that the Treasury confirms Though the law has expanded the age of debts that can be recovered it hasn t addressed the sometimes Kafkaesque process debtors can face when challenging the validity of a claim Consider the predicament of Dr Robert Steinberg the founder of Scharffen Berger chocolates who spent more than six years and thousands of dollars in legal fees appealing the Social Security Administration s claim that he owed it more than 28 000 Dr Steinberg received disability benefits in the early 1990s while undergoing chemotherapy for lymphoma a condition that ultimately claimed his life Dr Steinberg returned to work sporadically at a free clinic before co founding the chocolate company Year later the Social Security Administration notified Dr Steinberg he was overpaid in the 1990s In May 2002 with the matter still unresolved the agency turned the debt over to the Treasury for collection In Oct 2002 administrative law judge Gary Lee found that the Social Security Administration had never established the amount of the overpayment had dismissed an earlier appeal for spurious reasons had misinformed Dr Steinberg and mishandled his later appeals and had lost his file He noted that Dr Steinberg was without fault and told the agency to stop its collections efforts Dr Steinberg died in 2008 at 61 His lawyer Peter Young a former staff attorney for the Social Security Administration has handled more than 100 overpayment cases very few of which were accurate he says Most people can t find or afford help and give up very quickly and end up with painful offsets on a fixed budget An agency spokeswoman says mistakes can happen but over all the process works A Treasury spokesman says the new regulations require agencies seeking to recover debts more than a decade old to give debtors the right to review and copy their files make payment arrangements and apply for disability and hardship waivers But a recent dispute about a student loan shows that even with these rights a person challenging an old debt can face hurdles similar to homeowners in foreclosure trying to modify a loan that has been resold In 2003 the U S began withholding 173 a month in Social Security benefits from Annie Brown a paralyzed 75 year old widow living in a nursing home to repay a defaulted 8 823 student loan the Education Department says she took out in 1989 The offset reduced Mrs Brown s benefit to about 980 a month Mrs

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/default_seniors.html (2016-02-14)
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  • New Mexico: City Shuts Off Water, Sewer for Photo Ticket Nonpayment
    pay them On Monday Las Cruces New Mexico announced it would shut off the utilities of city residents who refused to pay Redflex Traffic Systems the Australian company that owns and operates the cameras The city is notifying offenders by mail that they have until the due date stated in the letter to pay the fines or make satisfactory payment arrangements a Las Cruces press release warned Failure to comply will result in termination of utilities services Las Cruces claims vehicle owners owe 2 million To encourage payment of the 100 photo fines the city says it will employ an ordinance the council adopted in 1988 giving itself the right to shut off utility service to residents declared delinquent for any reason The city may decline fail or cease to furnish utility service to any person who may be in debt to the city for any reason except ad valorem taxes and special assessments city code Section 28 10 states The city provides gas water sewer and trash services Ordinarily the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission prevents shutting off the utilities of low income residents from November 15 to March 15 This is primarily a safety issue as lack of

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/utilities_tickets.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Breast cancer survivor handcuffed and thrown in jail over a mistaken $280 medical bill as 'debtor's prisons' return to the U.S
    Hinton s wife took out a loan to buy his freedom Her 300 went to the debt collector Debt collectors have become so aggressive claim some that poor people who are behind on payments of as little as 25 a month are being sent to jail Even though debtor s prisons have been illegal since 1833 lenders are being accused of exploiting legal loopholes to have their borrowers found and sent to jail until they pay up Acting within the law debtors aren t arrested for nonpayment rather for failing to arrive to court hearings thereby falling foul of contempt of court laws This results in a police arrest warrant being issued for failure to appear the debtor is tracked down packed off to jail and can only get out by paying the set bail bond which of course matches the amount owed Affecting everyone who owes money from health care services to automobile loans debt collectors are using publicly funded courts sheriff deputies and county jails to pressure people with prison to pay back their money reports CBS News And now some state legislators are trying to plug this loophole by making court notices be served in person rather than mail arrest warrants to expire after a year and the bail bond returned to the debtor not the lender Following a spate of hard working people being forced to spend time in prison state legislators across the U S are examining ways to change the law In fact in Illinois alone legislation designed to plug loopholes aimed at debtors is waiting to pass through the state senate Creditors have been manipulating the court system to extract money from the unemployed veterans even seniors who rely solely on their benefits to get by each month said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan last month in a statement voicing support for the legislation Too many people have been thrown in jail simply because they re too poor to pay their debts We cannot allow these illegal abuses to continue A 2010 report by the American Civil Liberties Union that examined five states Georgia Louisiana Michigan Ohio and Washington discovered that people were being imprisoned at increasingly alarming rates through legal debts Some of the examples cited included a woman who arrested four individual times for failure to pay 251 in fines and costs related to a fourth degree misdemeanor conviction Another example that the ACLU used was of a mentally ill juvenile imprisoned by a judge for a conviction for stealing school supplies The sad truth is that debtors prisons are flourishing today more than two decades after the Supreme Court prohibited imprisoning those who are too poor to pay their legal debts said the ACLU In this era of shrinking budgets state and local governments have turned aggressively to using the threat and reality of imprisonment to squeeze revenue out of the poorest defendants who appear in their courts An unemployed Urbana resident Michelle Gilliam was picked up by sheriff s

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/debtors_prisons2.html (2016-02-14)
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  • For-Profit Prisons: A Barrier to Serious Criminal Justice Reform
    butter Private prison companies openly admit that their profits depend on locking up more people For example in a 2010 annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission the largest private prison company stated The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices As incarceration rates skyrocket the private prison industry expands at exponential rates The number of inmates in private prisons increased by roughly 1600 percent between 1990 and 2009 In 2010 the two largest private prison companies alone took in nearly 3 billion in revenue and their top executives each received annual compensation packages worth well over 3 million While the for profit prison industry touts the idea that governments can save money through privatization private prisons often fail to deliver demonstrable fiscal benefits and can even cost taxpayers more than publicly operated institutions Numerous studies by researchers state governments and federal agencies contradict the supposed economic benefits touted by industry supporters As state governments across the nation confront deep fiscal deficits the notion that private prisons demonstrably reduce the costs of incarceration is more than untrue it is dangerous and irresponsible Inflated assertions about cost savings threaten to lure states into privatization rather than reducing incarceration rates and limiting corrections spending through serious criminal justice reform Empirical studies also show a heightened level of violence in some private prisons With every incentive to slash salaries so as to maximize corporate profits private prison companies in some instances fill their facilities with inexperienced staff After an infamous escape from an Arizona private prison in 2010 for example the Arizona Department of Corrections reported that at the prison s taff are fairly green across all shifts are not proficient with weapons and habitually ignore sounding alarms

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/for-profit_prisons.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Washington Man Wrongfully Arrested for Check Fraud at Chase Bank Branch
    and mailed Njoku the balance 8 463 21 in a cashier s check When Njoku went to Chase Bank to cash the check he presented two forms of ID Njoku said the teller was rude She looked me up and down and asked me a series of questions like where I got the check and what I did for a living According to Matthew Knopp one of Njoku s attorneys the teller told Njoku that she could not cash the check immediately When Njoku returned the next day Chase refused to honor the check and instead had the Auburn Police Department arrest Njoku and haul him off to King County Jail At bottom what Chase did was wrong Knopp said They treated him in a way that no one wants to be treated or deserves to be treated Cmdr Mike Hirman said that a Chase representative had left a voicemail message for a Police Department detective June 25 a Friday saying that the check was valid and that it had made a mistake This means there was no longer a probable cause for arrest and Ikenna should have been released from jail Hirman said But the detective was not in that day and the Police Department did not hear Chase s message until Monday It was tough sitting in jail for so long Njoku said Chase is the company that s responsible People go to cash checks every day and not every time do people get thrown in jail Hirman said The lawyers think Chase could have tried harder to get him out like calling 911 to speak to someone or following up During his four day jail stint Njoku s favorite Infinity I30 which he d parked in the bank s lot was impounded Without sufficient funds to retrieve

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/chase_arrest.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Citibank Collection Agents Implicated In Debtor’s Death
    was interrogated Exactly what happened inside Citibank s Cleo Interrogation Room is unknown The meeting was led by three debt collectors hired by Citibank as outside contractors according to the Jakarta Post More than two hours later a security camera recorded Octa being pushed out of the room in a wheelchair either unconscious or already dead The contractors admit that the meeting was contentious but deny striking Octa Our clients tapped Octa s shoulder and also banged the table during the negotiations an attorney for the contractors Wirawan Adnan told reporters during a press conference in Jakarta Surya disputes that saying that when he found his friend lying on the floor Octa was not breathing he had blood under his nose and his hand was bruised Surya also told local reporters that he saw fresh blood on curtains and a wall inside the room He was clearly not interviewed but tortured Tugabus told the Washington Post An autopsy performed the day of the incident made the incident appear even more suspicious A forensic doctor with the University of Indonesia Ade Firmansyah performed the autopsy but filed two separate reports In the first the cause of death was listed as asphyxiation and a strike form a blunt instrument In the second the death was the result of a brain hemorrhage Firmansyah signed both autopsy reports on March 29 at 6 35 p m the Jakarta Post reports Citibank s Conflicted Response After the incident police investigated the scene in Citibank s office But that investigation happened on the fourth floor of the office tower the Octa family s lawyer told the Jakarta Post the incident happened on the fifth floor Meanwhile Citibank wrote off Octa s debts The bank also offered to pay his widow a monthly stipend and to pay

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/citibank_death.html (2016-02-14)
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  • New Ways Bankers Are Spying on You
    a leading indicator of credit risk They also can help banks identify which of their customers might be ripe for additional services and rewards programs and which might need special attention because for instance their direct deposits had stopped Income estimation This business took off earlier this year after the Federal Reserve allowed lenders to use credit bureaus income estimates to satisfy new requirements that credit card applicants show the ability to pay their debts The bureaus use credit record information such as the size of your credit lines and the age and size of your mortgage and plug it into models to predict your earnings Those estimates also may be used to double check the income you report on credit applications or to determine if you should be preapproved for credit You can t see those estimates But if you are denied credit because of them you must be given a chance to provide additional information Rent payments An estimated 40 million consumers including young people and people who prefer to pay in cash have too little credit experience to generate a useful credit score But they are likely to pay rent or utility bills which could help credit bureaus better assess their credit worthiness Experian one of the three major credit bureaus bought RentBureau which collects rental payment data from large property managers and expects to integrate that information into credit records before the end of the year Even if those consumers don t want credit that information could help them win better rates from insurers which may use insurance scores based on credit records and fatten up thin credit files which some employers check before making hiring decisions Credit bureaus say they also would like to offer data on cellphone payments but have run into concerns over

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/bankers_spying.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Merrill Fired Analyst Who Angered Huge Bank Clients Before Financial Crisis, Says Michael Lewis
    other books In a new article in Vanity Fair Lewis tells the story of an analyst at Merrill Lynch who months before the crisis said the lending practices of several big Irish banks were the riskiest and most reckless in Europe The Irish banks freaked out when they saw the report and demanded that Merrill retract it Merrill DID retract it and then rewrote and re issued a version that

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/merrill_fired_analyst.html (2016-02-14)
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